India’s most valuable edtech company Byju’s has appointed football superstar Lionel Messi as the global brand ambassador of its social impact arm, Education For All.
Byju’s tie-up with Messi comes ahead of the Fifa World Cup that starts later this month in Qatar and will feature Byju’s as an official sponsor. Messi, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain football club based in Paris, and captains the Argentinian football team, also runs his own non-profit organization Leo Messi Foundation, which deals with issues such as healthcare, education and sports.
“More than 5.5 million little hearts today have 10 reasons to smile brighter. Yes, Lionel Messi is the first Global Partner of BYJU’S Education For All,” Byju’s co-founder Divya Gokulnath said in a LinkedIn post on Friday.
What is particularly notable, though, is how Messi’s personal brand rivals that of nearly all of the world’s biggest clubs. As WTR revealed earlier this year, the superstar holds more registered or filed trademarks than any other football player – and by a long way. Messi has 115 trademarks was nearly double the number of marks than player rivals Neymar Jr (with 60 trademarks), Cristiano Ronaldo (53), and Paul Pogba (46). Interestingly, Neymar currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, while Pogba is rumoured as being in talks to join the French team – suggesting the club’s transfer targets bring significant commercial potential as well as playing ability.
New analysis finds that Messi now has 136 registered trademarks. Of those, a majority (80) are single class trademarks in his home country of Argentina, with 22 being in China, seven in Brazil, EU and Malaysia, six in the UK, three in Spain, and other single marks in Canada, Chile, and the US. The most common goods and services represented in Messi’s trademark portfolio are class 25 (clothing and footwear), class 28 (games, toys, and sporting apparatus) and class 9 (computer software). However, a vast number of goods and services are captured, with 18 classes filed in multiple applications. Finally, of the 136 registered trademarks, 96 are word marks (usually LIONEL MESSI or MESSI), while others are for his personal logo (which can be viewed at the EUIPO’s website).
The building of the portfolio has not been all smooth sailing, The player was embroiled in a long-running dispute with the owner of the EU word mark MASSI over the 2011 application for a figurative MESSI sign covering sports and gymnastics clothing, footwear and equipment. The multi-year legal saga appeared to come to an end last year, as the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) dismissed appeals and allowed the mark to be registered (a decision described by one expert as “unfortunate” and “throwing away all principles of trademark law”).
Outside of the courtroom, the size and breadth of Messi’s trademark portfolio is unprecedented in the football arena, and it is being used in a range of ways. Firstly, the player has launched ‘The Messi Store’ which has a variety of merchandise containing the Messi logo. Furthermore, via his legal entity Leo Messi Management, he has set-up a diverse licensing programme that includes such products as children’s nightwear and gym equipment. At 34, his playing career is at least nearing its end, but such licensing and brand deals could continue well into the future – as retired football star David Beckham has shown.
Messi’s first collaboration with Adidas was in 2006. Messi inked a lifetime contract with the company in February 2017. According to media sources, Messi earns £18 million each year from the contract.
Lionel Messi is a brand ambassador of Pepsico’s sports-themed beverage Gatorade alongside Usain Bolt, Elena Delle Donne, Jabari Parker, Dwyane Wade, and PV Sindhu.
The elite football player’s endorsement portfolio also includes Ooredoo, Pepsi, Lay’s, Jacob & Co., Budweiser, Hard Rock International, SIRIN LABS, SikSilk, LEAFTY, Socios.com, Mengniu, Orcam, Saudi Tourism Authority and Mastercard.
In 2016, Messi started his own worldwide lifestyle clothing line. Ginny Hilfiger, prominent designer, and sister of Tommy Hilfiger have served as Creative Director of ‘The Messi Store’ since June 2020, with Maria Sol Messi, who works as Brand Manager.
Over the last decade, Messi has made various real estate investments. These are said to generate millions of dollars in profit each year.
- Sitges 77-bedroom four-star hotel
- Ibiza and Mallorca hotels
- Andorra ski resort